Intellectual property is often a business’ most valuable asset. Business owners who have an invention with commercial potential are wise to invest in protecting these assets. After getting protection in your home country, it is wise to look towards protection abroad in the following circumstances:
- Sale. Patent protections are important if you plan to advertise and sell your product in a foreign market. Otherwise, competitors may steal the innovation and sell it themselves.
- Market. It is best to have patent protections lined up if you plan to market the product as a patented product.
- Manufacture. A patent in the country where you manufacture the product can reduce the risk the manufacturer makes the product for a competitor.
Those who are considering moving forward with patent protections overseas may wonder where to start. The world is a large place, and each country has its own rules and regulations when it comes to intellectual property protections. In some cases, it is beneficial to apply in individual countries. In others, the Patent Cooperate Treaty (PCT) can help.
What is the PCT?
A business owner can file a patent application under the PCT and start the process towards intellectual property protection in more than one country. 156 countries are part of the PCT including China, Costa Rica, India, Japan, and Indonesia. This treaty allows inventors to file their PCT application and get information about whether the invention is patentable in target countries before paying patent fees. This can reduce the expense that comes with international patent applications.
Is there anything else I should know about global IP protections?
Patent protections are just one legal tool to keep in your tool kit when it comes to protecting intellectual property rights. In some situations, other legal tools like licensing may also make sense.